National libraries are the guardians of a country’s national cultural heritage. They collect, preserve and make available a country’s history to all of its citizens, and open a window on that country to people all over the world.

The National Libraries Section supports national libraries in improving their services by generating discussion on established and emerging topics of interest: legal deposit; cataloguing and preservation; digitization and digital services ; data dissemination and data mining; the provision of common central services (e.g., reference, bibliography, preservation, circulation, research services) to authorized users and libraries on their national territory; and the promotion of national cultural policy – these are just some of the fundamental functions of national libraries that the section addresses.

The section’s objectives are to:

  • Improve national libraries’ services by sharing competencies and case studies, as well as inspiring initiatives
  • Demonstrate professional leadership in the library and information sector
  • Develop standards, guidelines, and best practice for service provision
  • Advise IFLA on advocacy to intergovernmental agencies in regard to cultural heritage and information access
  • Provide a forum for the discussion of international programmes and projects, the development of national information policies, and the sharing of views from other sectors of the profession
  • Support the implementation of the UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Preservation of, and Access to, Documentary Heritage Including in Digital Form and the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for People Who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled.
  • Encourage all national libraries to work for the national implementation of international instruments relevant to the library sector
  • Develop cooperation with other national heritage professional organizations such as the Conference of Directors of National Libraries (CDNL), the International Council on Archives (ICA) or the International Council of Museums (ICOM)

This unit is part of the Professional Division A.